Indians projected to win AL Central for fourth-straight year

Will the Indians run away with the division again?

James Rapien
February 07, 2019 - 12:26 pm
Sep 21, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, right, celebrates with second baseman Jose Ramirez (11) after scoring on a sacrifice fly by Ramirez during the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Progressive Field. Ma

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – The Indians are projected to finish 96-66 and win a fourth-straight Americal League Central Division Championship according to Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA rankings. 

PECOTA stands for Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm, which is a sabermetric system used to project performance. The Indians have shed nearly $22 million in payroll for the 2019 season. Their goal is to compete for a division championship, while also bringing in younger players who can be significant contributors in the future. The Indians traded away plenty of familiar faces over the past few months, including Edwin Encarnacion, Yan Gomes, Yonder Alonso and Yandy Diaz. 

“It’s cool to watch them piece it together each year,” Mike Clevinger said last month when asked about the offseason moves. “Now that I’ve been here for a few years and watch, it’s not like ‘Oh my God, what are we doing?’ There’s a plan and there’s always a plan. It’s always good to see. They have everything lined up.”

The Indians will rely on one of the best starting rotations in baseball. They'll need young players like Jake Bauers to play at a high-level if they expect to win the division again. 

 “The Twins are looking really good and the White Sox are looking pretty good too,” Clevinger said. “They’re getting dangerous, so we’ll see how they round up their lineups – but the Twins actually, that’s really surprising what they’re doing. It’s interesting how they’re doing these one year deals with older guys and it’s cool, but I still think we’re going to beat them.”

Some fans may be down on the Tribe going into 2019, but everyone would take a 96-win season and another division title. Only the Houston Astros are projected to have a better record (99-63) than the Indians. The New York Yankees are projected to tie the Tribe with 96 wins.

Pitchers and catchers report to Goodyear, Arizona on February 12.